Tag Archives: faith

Single: the Rules, the Wait, & Reckless Love

Today, I write this article as an eligible Christian bachelorette dating  joyfully and faithfully – but that wasn’t always the case.  In 2014, I dated, believing that I was ready for marriage and thinking that it was the men who I dated who were the ones responsible for the failed relationships.  I came to realize, however, that I was the common denominator and responsible party when they went on to get married and engaged…lol. Life-Coaching And so, 2015 was all about working on myself in the context of relationships: learning how to be open-minded, empathetic, patient, gentle, slow-to-anger – ideally never-to-anger, and learning, simply, that the world does not revolve around Jeanette and everyone has a valid point-of-view that deserves consideration.  I learned how to be a better counterpart in all of my relationships and I grew by light years.  I owe this progress to my life coach, Patty – I call her my Patty in my pocket – she gave me new eyes and a new life. The Rules The_rulesAnd with those new eyes, I re-entered the dating pool.   I now knew how to be a good girlfriend – a gracious girlfriend.  I was excited.  And I achieved some success, but I still felt somewhat out of control – some guys worked out and some didn’t and I didn’t know why one way or the other.  I needed a game plan – and I was introduced to and read: the Rules.  Or rather, I inhaled the Rules.  I read every edition available, typically over 1-2 days each. I had hour-long discussions about it w/ my girlfriend who introduced them to me and we agreed to be “Rules friends,” reaching out to each other for “Rules support.” I marveled at how differently and wrongly I had been dating.  My entire approach to dating changed.  Time-wasters weeded themselves out as only those who were available, interested, and ready rose to the top.  And for the first time, I was enjoying dating.  I was having a blast, meeting great men, and enjoying fun dates.  Then, I finally met a guy who really rose to the top, making it to date 13.  He was treating me right, taking me out, respecting me, adoring me, and just being a wonderful man that I loved spending my time with.  But…he didn’t love the Lord.  He may have identified with Christianity, but he didn’t live for God – not the way I knew I wanted my future husband to.  What had happened? Reckless Love Reckless-Promo-Slide-01-1032x590In the midst of this dilemma, a friend of mine introduced me to a sermon series called Reckless Love that answered that question for me: I was idolizing marriage.  I was making finding the one more important than being content in God.  As a result, I was casting too wide of a net.  I was casting a net that would capture men who were ready, available, and interested, yes, but not necessarily men of God.  I was making having a relationship more important than having a Godly relationship! My friend divulged to me the difficulties of an unequally yoked relationship and I suddenly saw yield signs that forced me to slow down and pay attention.  After watching the Reckless Love sermon series, I re-prioritized my source of love to be God’s love over a man’s love.  Additionally, I gained a peace with and even an excitement over my singleness.  I saw the opportunity  in my single hood.  I put on the peace of God and the faith that He would bring my man to me in His best timing.  I decided to serve God in my single hood and trust Him with my future mate. And once again, I re-entered the dating scene with new eyes:  I dramatically changed my dating profile to reflect how important God was in my life and my future mate.  Personally, I vetted men with the criteria that they be, yes, ready, available, and interested, but alsomen of God.  As a result, my dating pool shrank dramatically in quantity and rose in quality. The Wait 51h0nPrNVzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_During this time, I picked up Devon Franklin and Megan Good’s book: the Wait.  In them, I saw a couple who was hot and Hollywood and Christian and had found one another and written a book about waiting on sex and waiting in God and I wanted to hear what they had to say.  Reading that book affirmed everything that I had learned from Reckless Love – that our single hood is a wonderful time and we should maximize it to become incredible men and women of God and incredible partners for our future spouses.  The Wait affirmed believing in God’s provision of a mate and honoring God with our single, dating, engaged, and married lives.  Devon and Megan affirmed waiting until after marriage for sex and living together.  They affirmed the importance of a short engagement, getting to marriage, employing pre-marriage counseling, and a host of principles that I believe in.  And most importantly, they affirmed the beauty, joy, and fullness of doing it God’s way, as they believe that they are living God’s Plan A lives for them today as a result of their obedience and faith. With all of these tools, I am more open, more ready, more patient, more joyful, and more sure of what I’m looking for and able to offer than ever.  I marvel at what a journey it has been.  I’ve become an entirely different woman in this game of love and it’s been an evolution like none other.  I’m so grateful for all of these tools – they have all played a part in teaching me and I use parts of all of them as I navigate this adventure we call love. IdRatherChooseGodsBest If you’re struggling, scratching your head, or have even given up in love or life, the best advice that I can give is: keep the faith and don’t give up.  It’s in trying different tools, books, talks that we all aggregate what becomes our approach.  I do recommend all of the above that I mentioned, but it may not be the perfect fit or the full fit for you.  Regardless, keep trying, keep seeking, keep praying…keep the faith…and you’ll find your way! GodsBest

God is still providing us with Daily Manna

Hi guys! This podcast from Michael Hyatt, which I was listening while running on Tuesday, took on new meaning while I was speaking with a friend last night at dinner. In the podcast, Michelle is being interviewed by Michael (which is a role reversal!) about her life’s huge curveballs in the form of cancer and adopting three children! The huge takeaway from this for me, which only took on meaning for me two days later, was that God provides enough manna for the day…and that’s all we need. While Michelle was struggling with her cancer diagnosis, she realized that God got her through it day by day for four years and will continue to do so.  Naturally, she wanted more than just one day’s worth of provision. She wanted to see the light at the end of the tunnel already. She wanted complete healing already. She wanted victory over it already. But just like in the Bible, when the Israelites greedily attempted to collect more than what God intended for them to collect for the day (just a day’s worth of sustenance), the rest of it would rot. They needed to trust that God would sustain them the following day all over again. And He did. I realized yesterday that I am in a rush for certain things in my life. But God is growing and preparing me. My foundation is being solidified so that when I expand, I won’t collapse. My friend asked me, “Do you want to grow too fast and then collapse or not be able to handle the growth?” He gave me the example of the Freedom Towers’ construction and how long the laying of the foundation took compared to the building of the rest of the towers. I realized that a slow steady construction is preferable because the subsequent growth will be lasting and sustainable. And so, I will stop looking for the final result to happen today. I will trust that whatever God provides for me today is what I’m supposed to consume and that bit by bit, day by day, promise by promise, I will get to the Promised Land! Can you be grateful to God for giving you manna to conduct your business today, execute your exercise and diet today, pay for things today, extend grace, patience, and joy today? Can you be at peace with one day’s worth of provision rather than attempting to collect for the future? It’s terrifyingly freeing! Amen! PS: Listen and subscribe to the podcast if you want!

God – the Magnificent Orchestrator

I’ve heard and retold many a story of how “God’s timing is perfect.”  Of these, there are countless.  From how my pastor’s wife waited until forty for marriage to how she miscarried several times to how now, she is the mother of two adopted newborn twin girls with the man of her dreams is one very real example.  There is an often-cited anecdote that people use to demonstrate how God may often be “saving you” from something when seemingly causing a delay in your life.  ie: that traffic jam that you’re in could be saving you from that accident up ahead.  The final idea is-which is something that I’ve really clung to recently-is the idea that you don’t “define God based on  your circumstances; you define your circumstances based on God.”  One you’ve decided that “God is good all the time; all the time, God is good,” your circumstances are simply an exercise in faith. This is all easy to say, but I know it’s hard and I’ve been through the bleak moments when I’ve wondered myself.  But the breakthroughs will come and when they do, you go ahead and record them and blog about them and keep them around because breakthroughs are testimonies.  And now I’mma share mine! I just got out of a very bleak time where I felt, in the most scientific of terms, in a schlump.  On the heels of heartbreak, my feelings began to snowball to include loneliness, depression, and an overall absence of joy, energy, and purpose.  It was bad, ya’ll.  I would put on a happy face and happy energy for just long enough to get through teaching a class or completing an audition – and then I would default to sad clown face.  Through this time, I prayed, I read, and I learned a lot.  But I was still there, in the winter, emotionally.  I started to question my career, city of living – everything went under the microscope for examination during this time of unhappiness as I tried to “get to the root.” Some important pieces of background information:
  • I’ve always been a commercial actor with no intention of pursuing tv or film acting.
  • I’ve always taught fitness classes as a “side hustle” to my commercial acting.
  • After my heartbreak, I was shaken enough to receive a friend’s referral  to her therapist and have been working with her  since.
From the book "time in a bottle" - this passage is on "perfecting the past"
From the book “time in a bottle” – this passage is on “perfecting the past”
Here is the turnaround in my story – where the winter gives way to spring – where the score crescendos – where all the pieces of God’s magnificent plan seamlessly and perfectly align for the good of you – get ready! I text my therapist in the midst of my emptiness – desperate to shake this state.  She gets on the phone with me for 30 minutes, during which I’m crying silent throughout.  At the end of that call, I feel empowered to call my Dad and make plans for Christmas and as I look at all the other areas of my life I was questioning, I suddenly feel contentment in them again.  My energy and motivation to be a contribution to this world return and I get busy doing things for others again. During this time, I was also being asked to act in a dramatic scene and despite the fact that this was not my “acting lane” as a commercial actress, I said “yes.”  As I was studying movie clips to pull from, I felt compelled to write my own scene, inspired by my heartbreak.  And right then and there, I penned my first scene as a writer!  And it was good, ya’ll!  Suddenly, the idea of being an actress – a legit actress – in tv and film – became desirable to me. I wrote the scene in under an hour and later on that day, had a conversation with an old college friend that solidified for me this decision to become a full-time actress.  By the end of that day, I was busting at the seams with excitement over my promising acting career!  The desire, placed within me for the first time, was suddenly so magnetic and so attractive, that it felt like I was going from 0 – 60mph!  Over the next two days I decided who my muse was going to be, made a vision board for my acting career, applied to an acting school, studied a monologue for that audition, started studying movies, and fully saw myself and my life through this lens of acting. And I used to say that I didn’t want to act, just do commercials and host.  And I used to specifically correct people when they called me an actress, clarifying that I was only a commercial actress.  And I had never taken one acting class. Also, at this time, it seemed like my fitness instructing career was crumbling.  My class attendance was dwindling and my gyms were actually taking me OFF the schedule.  I knew that it wasn’t me because I would get great feedback that let me know that the style that used to pack my class was the same style that suddenly was bringing in less then ten people at times.  I fought the temptation of offense and forced myself to stay still to see what God had in store in this circumstance.  And now, I see – He was freeing me to act!  Without the hours spent preparing, traveling, and teaching a class, I really would gain so much more time to pour into acting! Here’s what I believe:  God wasn’t going to let me be an actress and make it big and have the fame and fortune and platform that a successful actor has until I fixed some things.  There were some things that were in dire need of address in my way of being in relationships.  I needed to be humbled and broken – there was no way around it.  It took two consecutive heartbreaks in the same year to shake me to the point of looking outside of myself for help.  And then it was like the scales were removed from my eyes and I started to choose another way to think and behave that God finally saw as good and appropriate and fitting.  And once that started happening, God wasted no time in planting the desire and the resources around me to allow me to pursue this career at warp speed.  I believe that these years of commercial acting have prepared me with knowledge and resources to make up for this later start in my acting career.  And I believe that He loves me, has never stopped loving me, and has been guiding me all this time, even during the winters when I was too numb to feel His presence. God is good and I’m going to be a movie star! And if you don’t believe me, hear it from Oprah – her message: “there are no mistakes,” and I add to that an “Amen, because God’s plan is perfect.  He will work it out for you.”

Fitness and Faith: for optimal results, approach as prescribed!

I’ve noticed for some time now, that when I am speaking about God or Christianity, that I can often use exercise as an analogy.  It struck me the other day because I’m on a training regimen with so many components that building them into my lifestyle is the key to it’s existence and success; just like my faith.  I’ll unpack that a bit for you, along with some other correlations that I find helpful. IT’S A LIFESTYLE: To me, there is a 3-Pronged approach to creating a lifestyle: habits, schedule, community.  Neither faith or fitness is something that you can implement part of the time and experience measurable results.  Your faith and your fitness, if you want to be a warrior in either, have to be lifestyles that include daily practices, recurring calendar appointments, and people. for me: this means that I have certain habits that I do daily: I drink [a gallon] of water a day, I cook my own meals, I pray as soon as I wake up, then I eat breakfast.  I also have chosen to be a fitness instructor so that exercise is literally a non-negotiable appointment on my calendar several times a week.  “Church” is also on repeat in my calendar.  It’s the people who have people at the gym and church who are more apt to stick with the program.  Don’t be a loner in a  lifestyle that you want to go after.  There’s still much more to improve upon, but I live fitness and I live in faith.  They are lifestyles. THE PAIN BECOMES GAIN: When you lift weights, you are literally tearing the muscle fibers.  Muscles grow larger and stronger when they repair themselves after being torn; so, the situation has to get worse before it gets better.  Interesting, huh?!  In the same way, God grows our character through trials: periods of loneliness during which we grow closer to Him, temptations that strengthen our character, hopelessness that sends us into intercessory prayer.  On the other side of this: we are physically stronger from pushing those weights, feeling that soreness, and bearing that pain.  And we are spiritually stronger from the trials that we have endured. for me: this means that I am exhausted at the end of a weight-lifting session, but then I get to see and feel the growth in my muscles and I witness progress with the amount of weight I can lift.  I feel accomplished when I move up the weight rack!  In my spiritual life, it means that when I look back at the bleak times in my life, I can appreciate how far I’ve come, and I can see the contrast between that and a life with God’s presence in it. THERE IS A DEVIL TO RESISTshieldsofstrength2 Both faith and fitness require staying on the narrow path in order to achieve the results or the life we want.  These narrow paths are choked by temptations that we must resist.  In fitness, it’s chocolate cake, alcohol, and french fries.  In faith, it’s sex before marriage, gossip, and unforgiveness.  It is in the resisting of these temptations that we can experience the fullness of the body and spirit that we are seeking.  Resisting temptation also becomes easier over time. for me: this means that my home is filled with healthy food and Bible verses.  I don’t bring things into my home that will thwart my goals.  I admire and drink from sources that are respectable leaders in both industries so that my mind stays on track. ACCOUNTABILITY IS KEY Group fitness classes and community worship simply have better success rates than going at these things alone.  Even if we’re talking about one additional person, having someone to go to the gym or go to church with will oftentimes mean the difference between doing it or not.  Announcing that you’re going on a diet or surrendering something to God increases the success rate as well.  Man was not made to go at life alone; hook up with a buddy for the things that are important. for me: this doesn’t necessarily mean that I have a buddy to do everything with, but it does mean that I become related to the people around me: trainers, students, fellow gym rats, pastors, fellow church go-ers, in order to build a community and have accountability. shieldsofstrength3IT TAKES FAITH, TRUST THE PROCESS Anything worth having is worth waiting for, right?!  It’s usually around after one month of compliance with a diet and exercise plan that I begin to notice results.  That’s one month of just eating and moving in faith.  In the same way, we have to take a leap of faith to jump into a life with God and be vulnerable in order to experience His fullness.  We have to move into his calling, sometimes against all logic, without seeing any hope, and just believe that He is for us. for me: this means that I operate on faith and that I gobble up fitness success stories and testimonies from faithful Christians to fuel that faith.  I live my Christian life based on principle, not emotion and I eat for nutrition, not to feed my feelings. These photos are from Shields of Strength, a company that has fused faith and fitness into fantastic jewelry designs.  I love the concept, obviously, and shall be buying one!

Think Different.

Apple.com homepage: Tribute to Steve Jobs
I found out that Steve Jobs died on Wednesday, 10/5/11, when a stranger on the M23 gave me the newsflash off his iPhone.  It didn’t really hit me, however, until l decided to scour CNN.com the next day and stopped at the Fifth Ave Apple Store today, four days later.  Upon scouring CNN, I re-watched Job’s commencement speech at Stanford University’s graduation.  Stunning. Please watch it here. It is from this speech that many of his famous quotes were extracted that wallpapered Facebook upon his death: “You’ve got to find what you love.” “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle…keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” “…I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose…There is no reason not to follow your heart.” “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” “And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” These are just some of his excerpts, but I could easily paste the entire transcript here and not feel it to be redundant.  This man is easily the Einstein/Edison/Etc of our day.  Everybody…Every..Body..uses Macs, ipods, iphones, ipads…all of it.  These products dramatically affected our lives.  But it’s not just that.  Job’s story is one of triumph o’er adversity and following one’s dreams if I’ve ever heard one.  He is a life story of exceptions to the rule: dropping out of college; inventing Apple out of his garage; being fired from Apple, his own company, his own invention!; revolutionizing music players, revolutionizing phones, pressing on through his bout with pancreatic cancer…this man is the living example of the Japanese proverb: “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” From an article in the Daily News on Friday, 10/7: “He was Steve Jobs and he was what we still want America to be, a guy who came out of a garage in Los Altos, Calif., with his buddy Steve Wozniak and his big ideas and changed the world so much they talk about him with Einstein and Edison and Henry Ford.  He was Apple Inc., and iPods and iPads, and iTunes and Pixar Animation and phones that are like home entertainment centers, the guy who did the most to take the world and put it in the palm of your hand – or the tip of your fingers.  And Jobs said something along the way that was as smart as any gadget that came out of his imagination, something that spoke to all the dreamers like him: ‘it’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.’  He changed the world and he touched the world” I was at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store today and it was really incredible to read the personal messages that people wrote to this guy: messages on post-it notes, messages on apples, messages in all languages, messages from all corners of the world, messages on iPad boxes, heartfelt notes of thanks and remembrance. People held up their iPads with the video of a candle flickering. Flowers graced the foot of the memorial. Artlcles of the fateful day served as a timestamp amongst the memorabilia. There was a reverence for this man in front of the Apple store this morning and “iAdmire Steve Jobs.” Thank you.

Ready to Give It Up…

I usually use this blog as a platform for uplifting words, inspiring anecdotes, and exciting news.  Today, I’m experimenting with doing some unloading here on jeanetteeng.com, but even then, perhaps eventually to a greater end.  I feel overwhelmed right now.  I feel overwhelmed by the looming responsibility of aiding a family in emotional distress.  I feel spread thin by a host of invitations to an increasing number of causes and events and efforts.  I feel lonely without a family that I can seek asylum or rejuvenation in.  I feel offense in unreliable people, unexpected outcomes, and uncontrollable circumstances. This past week found me half-dressed in the back of a cab and calling my gym to request that my microphone be prepped and ready for me so as to shave off even more valuable seconds from my already tardy arrival.  In that moment, I cursed this lifestyle that I was living in which I’m often scheduled with appointments back-to-back, checking off a mental to-do list all day, and swirling with a head full of pending projects always.  I thought to myself, “Isn’t it time I’ve settled down a little bit more than this by now?!”  Why am I still running myself ragged like I was years ago?  This past weekend also found me juggling three social engagements with three different groups and executing not one of them fully successfully.  This situation left me vulnerable to one of my vices…emotional snacking.  And so I found myself popping dark chocolate covered cashews at 2am.  I’ve been doing remarkably well on my new diet plan with very controlled portions and I’m loving the outcome so far!  My first slippery night left me disappointed in myself, however.  Another thing on my mind came by way of an impromptu career assessment that left me wanting.  I need to revisit and master the hosting field, something that I have strayed from over the years.
In short, my life is very full and I am very grateful.  But with great power comes great responsibility and I am the type of person that takes responsibility seriously.  I am sensitive to needs and place it upon myself to answer to them.  And it is no coincidence that I pulled out my notes just now from a sermon two weeks ago and read this line.  “Your problems are big, but God is bigger.” “Recognize provision and that Jesus is enough.”  I just re-read the beginning of my notes where Pastor Adam speaks on “God’s hand in the midst of hardship.”  Adam came from a family of divorced parents and he resented having to be the caretaker for his brothers and sisters.  But this hardship, Adam eventually realized, was to prepare him for the ultimate task of pastoring two congregations and the New York Jets.  Hardships are part of God’s process.  And so I can re-visualize these trying times with my family, during which I have to turn the other cheek, bite my tongue, invest time, and give give give, as preparation for something far greater.
It seems that Spiderman and Jesus shared similar sentiments: “With great power comes great responsibility.” and “To whom much is given, much is required.” I can make peace with the idea that much is being required of me right now because so much has been given.  I can expect that more will be given to me and more will be required and I shall be that much more prepared.  I shall not worry on these things, for worry is synonymous with a lack of faith in God.  I will petition him with my requests and set my sights on the positive outcomes that I know he will provide.  With confidence and faith I will go about my responsibilities because I will better my family, settle down my schedule, conquer my diet, be a fabulous host, and be game for whatever else God has in store for me!  And so, to complete my subject heading, “I’m Ready to Give It Up”…”TO HIM!”